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“Happiness is not out there. It’s in you.” ~ Anonymous
What is happiness?
It’s not just one thing. It’s an umbrella that contains within itself—joy, satisfaction, laughter, peace, safety, well-being, and contentment.
It’s not something to be chased. It’s something to be created, experienced, and savored.
It’s not something that happens on its own. It’s born out of the choices we make every living minute of our lives.
Yet we are plagued by this idea that it’s something to be chased and it will come to us at some point in our lives.
Perhaps it’s not about running after—it’s about being present with ourselves and within ourselves.
What stops us from doing that?
No one and nothing but our own “self,” our own shadow keeps pulling us back.
“Happiness is not a possession to be prized. It is a quality of thought, a state of mind.” ~ Daphne Du Maurier
We search for it outside of us, when it lies within. All we need to do is shine some light on it and, once we do, we will realise what’s happening and come face-to-face with all the cobwebs that have been covering our present.
Those cobwebs ensure that we stay in our shadows and not bask in the glory of our own light.
What if it gets taken away…?
But if we honor the choice that we have, how will it?
Happiness is the home of all our other states and values. All we need to do is clear out the cobwebs.
Here are seven ways we keep ourselves unhappy:
1. Denial of what’s not working for us today. It’s difficult to own up to the fragmented, disconnected parts of us that show up in the form of a dissatisfied work life or a broken relationship. Yet if we don’t, we will never know what lies on the other side—the possibilities of creation, joy, satisfaction, and perhaps finding something more meaningful.
2. Being disconnected from our present. We spend half the time either ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. In the end, it’s our present that gets messed up.
3. Not living in accordance with our values. A lot of us are not aligned with our values. Some of us are not even aware of what our values are. We live a life that’s only half ours. The other half is borrowed from “oughts,” “shoulds,” and “musts.” When we add the dimension of values to our life, it becomes meaningful. It makes us better equipped to deal with our own existential crisis.
“You can’t do anything about the length of your life. But you can do something about its width and depth.” ~ H. L. Mencken
4. Misaligned values lead to disconnected relationships. When we don’t know what we want and how we want it, we’ll settle for what’s given or what seems convenient. We are unable to strive for what’s fulfilling. We make ourselves captive of choices and relationships that are devoid of joy, contentment, satisfaction, peace, and in the interest of our well-being, and then we choose to deny our own reality because acknowledging it means bringing forward our shadows—and we all love light, don’t we?
5. We are too busy judging ourselves for who and how we are instead of embracing who we are and striving to be our highest selves. We stick labels onto ourselves that again keep us captive. They keep us stuck in poor choices and unhelpful states and we stay. We find ways to convince ourselves to stay. We look for comfort in discomfort. We deny ourselves the fullness and richness of our own lives.
6. We hold onto people and things that don’t serve us and let go of the ones that contribute to our growth.
“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” ~ Dodinsky
7. We underestimate the power of small moments of joy. We discount the fact that these small moments of laughter, peace, kindness, and accomplishment fall under the umbrella of happiness. An umbrella that’s for us to create and play with.
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” ~ Charles Dickens
Happiness is a moment of choice and the only person standing between you and your happiness is you.
All you have to do is make a choice—whether you want to pick up that umbrella or not.
“If you want to be happy, just be.” ~ Leo Tolstoy